Denzel Valentine’s triple-double leads No. 13 Michigan St. past No. 4 Kansas

CHICAGO — The nightcap was, on paper, the lesser of the games of this fifth Champions Classic even though it was a game between two big brands, both of which are top-15 teams led by future Hall of Fame coaches who have won national titles.

That’s just what Kentucky-Duke does to other games.

It makes all other games lesser games.

Blame it Coach Cal and Coach K.

Blame it on all those pros.

That said, man, was that Kansas-Michigan State game something or what?

The lesser game on paper was the better game on hardwood here at the United Center — and it was highlighted by Denzel Valentine’s triple-double that led No. 14 Michigan State to a 79-73 upset of No. 4 Kansas. The Spartans trailed by 13 points in the first half. But what’s a 13-point deficit when, you know, Denzel Valentine is on your roster?

The 6-foot-5 senior finished with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in 38 minutes.

“Never in my life,” Valentine answered when I asked if he’d ever gone for 29-12-12 in any basketball game at any level. “I’ve never even dreamed of 29-12-12.”

Denzel Valentine (USATSI)
Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine scored a game-high 29 points vs. Kansas on Tuesday. (USATSI)

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